This past week I spent 3 days with friends from around the world at the Biblical Counseling Coalition Global Summit that was held in Illinois. Present at the summit were biblical counselors from Germany, Brazil, Australia, Ukraine, Romania, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa and other countries around the world. They shared with us the state of biblical counseling in their countries and how God is using it to further His kingdom. I would like to share with you some of what I learned because the truth is, we don’t usually think about biblical counseling and the Great Commission going together.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
Teaching them to observe what God has commanded in His Word is part of the Great Commission. This is part of disciple-making, and is summarized in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV)
Unfortunately in many churches, there is little understanding of what biblical disciple-making is. Church has become program oriented and these programs have replaced the whole concept of biblical discipleship and growth. These churches have adopted the psychological views presented by integrationists that say we are victims who bear no responsibility for sin. These churches promote the world’s way (psychology) of dealing with problems that the Bible says are common to man (1 Cor. 10:13).
In his presentation to the group, Pastor Heath Lambert said, “We want to say helpful things to troubled people that lead to real and lasting change. We want to do this to all people all over the world. Together we want this [truth]to go to the ends of the earth!”
Discipleship is a part of the Great Commission, and biblical counseling is one means by which the Church is becoming more biblical. It is counseling and teaching with the goal of presenting Jesus Christ in the life of believers. This is the process of sanctification by which the counselee (and all Christians) are to be conforming to biblical standards. These new actions and attitudes are to flow from a changed heart, which is affected by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. This is actual righteousness—practical righteousness—that is the outworking of the imperatives of Colossians 3:1-11 and Ephesians 4:22-24. This is the revelation of what we already are in Christ!
Our pastors and those already in the biblical counseling movement cannot spread this message alone. We need help to reach the billions of people who have not heard the true Gospel of Jesus Christ or how it changes lives. We have to be a part of developing healthy souls. Pastor Steve Viars said, “Our counseling is not done so people feel good about themselves or so that they feel better! It is done for love in action; so [people] are healthy, equipped, motivated and deployed to reach the world for Christ.” Can you, will you get behind God’s plan and join in what’s happening in the world and find a way to become skilled in biblical counseling? Will you then take that next step and bring your skills to those who need help? The fields are ripe for harvest, and the world is an increasingly hurting place. Come with us into the fields.